On Saturday, Feb. 11, Captain Randall Crossen Sr. was recognized for his service and presented the “EMT / Paramedic of the year” award for the state of Ohio.
Crossen, a long-time member of the Albany Area Volunteer Fire Department, began his firefighting career at just 14 years old.
“He's been at this stuff for about 40 years,” Joe Mulligan, post adjutant for Veterans of Foreign Wars post 9893, said. “So you know, he's probably seen all that you could possibly, unfortunately see in ways of fires and accidents. But he's been there to help the community out and help our citizens out.”
In addition to working with the Albany Fire Department, Crossen also is big in Cub Scouts and in the VFW auxiliary.
“Over the years, Randy has done so much for the community,” Lee Bolen, Fire Chief of the Albany Fire Department, said. “A lot of people that know Randy recognize that there's a lot of folks that are new to the area that may not know what all he has done over the years, so this award is just excellent.”
Jim Riley, safety department chairman of the VFW, presented Crossen with a plaque from VFW post 9893 at the Albany Fire Station Saturday morning.
Each year, hundreds of VFW posts throughout Ohio submit names for police, fire, EMT, paramedic and dispatchers of the year. Riley says Crossen rose to the top due to his credentials and experience.
“It was no competition when we read his qualifications, and the length of service he's had to the people of this area,” Riley said. “He was a great public servant.”
Crossen is the first captain at the fire department, having been in the department for 39 years.
“I've known Randy since 2000, when I first joined the fire service, and we hit it off instantly,” Bolen said. “Randy is one of those guys that he can get along with everyone. He's involved with everything in the community pretty much that you can possibly be involved with.”
Crossen said he never dreamed he would be awarded anything this high when he started in the field.
"I never knew I was even considered being nominated for it,” Crossen said. “Our VFW commander and VFW post Albany 8983, and our fire chief coordinated together and blindsided me, and nominated me for the award.”
Crossen said he has always wanted to help people and be in the medical field. Crossen got his start in the field after seeing an advertisement for EMT training, sparking him to apply and begin his career.
“My chief’s been wanting me to be his assistant several times, they've asked me to be the chief here several times,” Crossen said. “I'm happy in the Captain position. My work schedule, I'm on the road a lot, so it's hard for me to be able to fulfill that position.”
The Albany Fire Department operates on a volunteer basis, utilizing community members like Crossen daily. More information on the fire department can be found on its Facebook page.
“I'll continue to try and do the best out there to try and make everybody the best I can do to protect their lives and families and property,” Crossen said.
Watch and listen to more from the award ceremony in the video above.